Review of Piranha 3D

Film Review – Piranha 3D
by Ben MacNair
Bodies and Blood. Girls and Gore. Readers of the Daily Mail really should look away now. With a look back at the B Movies from the 1970’s, this 3D monster really is not a film for those of a nervous disposition.
The film has common themes with such other B Movie styled films as Tremors, whilst there is something of the spirit of Gremlins in some of the scenes. The film contains a strong cast, with Elizabeth Shue playing a local town sheriff, Christopher Lloyd being another science expert, Ving Rhames being a tough guy police man, and Jerry O’Connell playing a sleazy film producer It is Summer in America, and a species of Piranha, only found in the fossil record has been unleashed in a lake, following a tremor, just as Spring Break is beginning, adding to the worries of the town’s small police team.
The film contains a lot of inter film text. Richard Dreyfus, who memorably survived an attack from one of films most famous sharks is the first victim of the titular fish, and yes, he does still need a bigger boat. Stephen R McQueen, the real life grandson of iconic film star Steve McQueen is cast as the local geek. Christopher Lloyd appears as the local fish expert, a role which he plays with the same relish as he attacked Doc Brown in Back to the Future.
There is a lot of blood, and more than enough blood drenched, water logged death to keep fans of horror happy, whilst in some scenes, the film may well have been called Piranha 3DD. This should really appeal to fifteen year old boys, but the film’s justifiable 18 certificate would stop that.
The 3D element of the film has been well integrated, adding an extra sense of urgency to some scenes, particularly a nine minute section when anybody in the lake becomes food for the newly released, very hungry fish. As well as the visual aspects of the film, the sound-scape has been particularly well looked after. The scene where two divers are in the cave with the Piranhas has a claustrophobic sense of unease and forboding, with the music adding to the sense of dread.
The Fish themselves have the same ferocity as you would expect. The scenes with them are particularly gruesome. Bodies become skeletons in seconds, the Piranhas fight amongst themselves, and although they are computer generated, they still look dangerous enough to have gained their real life reputation.
However, the dialogue is cheesy, with Jerry O’Connell as a sleazy film producer seeming to be having a good time with the dialogue, and in the heavily trailed nude scenes. None of the main character come to any real harm. Shue’s Deputy gets her family out alive, and the Piranhas are killed by the same ending that did for Jaws. An exploding boat.
This is a film that is not to be taken seriously. It offers no searing insight into the human condition, offers no easy answers, but it is what it is. Sometimes Schlock is a good thing, and when it is done as effectively as this, it makes you think twice about going into any body of water. You never know what might be lurking under the surface.

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